Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the first step in using social media for SEO: creating quality content and building your own social communities. However, all of that researching, writing and publishing content will be for naught if it doesn’t reach your target demographic. One surefire way to ensure that your target audience sees your content (and then responds to any of your calls to action) is to first present it to the person or people your target audience already trusts. That’s right—it’s time to target influencers.
Who are influencers? They’re the individuals whose words and actions impact the ideology and actions of others. Identifying these folks is a crucial step because these are people you want to get to know and with whom you want to build a relationship. An easy way to find influencers is to use the native search feature in most social networks and watch for people who continuously pop up and chime in on specific topics. You can also use specialized search tools (Followerwonk, Statigram, Social Crawlytics, etc.) to search for the terms related to your sector. Additionally, take time to read all the blogs and bylines you can in order to identify the trusted sources of information in the community. Who are members of your target audience listening to? Who are they following and liking? Once you find these people, don’t hesitate to be friendly and reach out.
Jumping in with both feet without first interacting with an influencer is like showing up late as a guest to a party and thanking everyone for coming. It makes no sense and, frankly, it turns people off. A better approach is to join the conversation, not attempt to start it. Now that you’ve found your influencers, start a conversation with them and trade ideas and knowledge. It doesn’t have to be particularly formal. Send them a tweet, comment on a Facebook post, contribute to a conversation on their blog—it doesn’t matter! Just reach out and share relevant thoughts and ideas. Over time, they may share what they’ve learned from you with their community of followers and fans. As long as you offer valuable and credible information, people will trust you because they trust your endorser. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert and maybe an influencer in your own right.
Once you have the seal of approval from an influencer, take advantage of that momentum and run with it! Keep reaching out to the community and the influencers in order to stay in the spotlight. Don’t be pushy, but be sincere in your interest in being a thought leader and a reliable source of information. Did you know that 98 percent of people trust the advice and information they get from blogs? This makes being a source of valuable information crucial to positioning yourself as an expert. Once you have the attention and trust of potential clients and consumers, keep the lines of communication open until you can successfully lead people to your own Twitter profile, Facebook page, blog or other social communities.
Identifying and reaching out to influencers who will share your content and help you build your social presence online is a vital step in using social media for SEO. The power is in the hands of the people; without them, all of your social media efforts will be in vain. Reach out to those your target audience listens to and, more importantly, they trust. Putting your content in their hands will help you be more visible in search engines, providing you with the opportunity to reach potential clients and customers.
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